Living volcanoes, star-lit skies and magnificent sights worthy of Hollywood; it’s all the makings of an unforgettable journey on magical, mythical islands
Opportunities to visit live volcanoes and stare upon a starry-night sky may come only once in a lifetime and to neglect the opportunity is akin to Oscar Wilde’s description of individuals who have neglected to live a full life. Some may gad about the importance of their futures but true souls know that life is savoured in the moment. The noted essayist once said, “To live life to the fullest is the rarest thing; most only exist and that is all”. If we may be permitted to offer a suggestion Hawaii is such a place to return to an unparalleled oneness with nature.
BLUE HAWAIIAN HELICOPTER
While some might enjoy the tranquillity of a hot air balloon while enjoying breathtaking landscapes but the adventurous will prefer the panache and rapid tempo which comes with a burst of adrenaline that can only be fulfilled with a helicopter ride. The moment of anticipation one goes through before take-off is truly an adventure of its own. For an electrifying experience that guarantees safety, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters is our recommendation for your first call while touring Hawaii’s mystical isles.
A curious fact while touring the skies with Blue Hawaiian is this; they are actually Hollywood’s first call when it comes to iconic scenic shots that directors use in movies. The helicopter tours company was actually involved with photography work for motion pictures like Jurassic Park, Crimson Tide, and Disney’s Pearl Harbour. In the category of helicopter tour companies under Hawaii Magazine, the company bagged consecutive wins for Hawaii’s best 5 years in a row from 2012. The company is also certified by the Department of Defence (DOD).
MAUNAKEA SUMMIT ADVENTURES & KILAUEA SUMMIT ADVENTURES
Under a star-lit sky atop Hawaii’s tallest peak is one of the world’s premier locations for astronomers and star gazers to enjoy a stunning display of astronomical beauty. Maunakea, Hawaii’s tallest peak which stands at 4,207 metres is one of the world’s best sites for astronomical observation due to extremely stable atmosphere and it’s above the clouds locale.
Journeying to the site in the afternoon is recommended for first time visitors and will allow for magnificent photos of a sunset above the clouds. The red hue of the sun creates an impression that one is actually on Mars, the red planet of our solar system. Once the sun sets, visitors may look forward to a remarkable star lit sky which is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The cherry on top of this wonderful experience is to have knowledgeable guides dictate to you about the origins and navigational tips of ancient explorers while sipping hot cocoa atop the chilly summit.
Test the limits of your courage by visiting one of Mother Nature’s most active volcanoes in Hawaii, Mount Kilauea. The name Kilauea, in the Hawai’ian tongue actually bears the meaning of” spewing” or “much spreading” in reference to the volcano’s constant outpouring of lava. The volcano has been said to be erupting on a continuous basis since 1983. Kilauea, is also now known as the “smiling volcano” after a smiley face formed on the volcano’s east rift zone in July 2016. Satisfy your inner nerd on all things volcano when you visit the Jagger Museum situated next to the lookout point overlooking Kilauea or get the summary from the knowledgeable guides Kilauea Summit Adventures.
Get behind the scenes of all things Hollywood when you visit Kualoa ranch, the location of many television shows and Hollywood films. Whether it’s Jurassic Park, Tears of the Sun, 50 First Dates or TV specials such as Hawaii Five-O, Magnum PI and LOST, many of these scenes will appear remarkably familiar to any cinematic enthusiast or “moviephile” , The 4,000-acre ranch features dense rainforests and broad open valleys that make for an unforgettable picturesque scene. Also included are magnificent views from beautiful white sand beaches to verdant cliff faces which are open to exploration either by hiking, an ATV or if one is feeling particularly adventurous, horseback.
Understanding that environmental protection plays a big part in its future vision, the ranch established the “Aina Pono Foundation” in 2009 which serves to help preserve the characteristics of ancient Hawaiian culture.
HALEAKALA NATIONAL PARK
The sun rises everyday over our heads but it’s rare if any get to witness the beauty concealed within the House of the Sun or better known as ‘Haleakala’ by the Hawaiian locals. Native Hawaiians have lived on and cared for the land around Haleakala for over 1,000 years with important cultural sights and ‘meles’ (songs/chants) to mark the history of the landscape. Between the 1930s and 1940s, the federal government of the United States sponsored the Civilian Conservation Corp which was heavily engaged with a variety of projects at the park.
The national park is a rare and sacred landscape home to uncommon species of pollinated geraniums found nowhere else on earth. Among them are the silver geranium, many-flowered geranium, geranium hanaense, and the prized geranium arboretu-n said to be the rarest of the four. The geranium arboreum is said to be critically endangered with less than 50 individual plants populating the hills.
Visitors to Haleakala may also wish to arrive early to capture the much anticipated sunrise scenes of which draw hundreds of tourists every day. Visitors in personal or rental vehicles would need to make advance reservations ahead of time in order to make the sunrise viewings.
LE’AHI, DIAMOND HEAD HIKE
For a scenic view of Honolulu and an adrenaline high from hiking, the climb to the summit of Leahi, the Diamond Head State Monument of Oahu is an absolute must for those who wish to view the picturesque views of the island and enjoy the blustery winds at the top.
From the summit, unobstructed views of the entire Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean can be seen in utter detail and certainly worth its steep but short hike. The name Le’alli actually most likely comes from the Hawaiian word ‘Ahi’ which means tuna as the shape of the mountain’s ridgeline somewhat resembles the shape of a tuna’s dorsal fin.
The historic trail to the summit of Le’ahi was build back in 1908 as part of the U.S Army Coastal Artillery defence system and obtained its name as a national natural landmark back in 1968. For those planning a weekend hike on Saturday, the Kapiolani Community College Farmer’s Market meets at the base of the hill across the street from the monument’s entrance to offer locally grown food and produces.
For all things Hawaii, we recommend downloading the FREE Go Hawai’i app from the Apple iTunes Store or Google Play Store which contains vital travel information about the Hawaiian islands.